SRT Handling Package Sharpens Car’s Snake-like Reflexes
With horsepower already at historically high levels, many of today’s automakers are turning to handling packages as a way to provide added levels of performance without having to add a big premium for a big new engine. The Bowtie brand, for example, does it with the 1LE upgrade to the 2013 Chevy Camaro SS, and the Blue Oval has long offered “track packs” for its Ford Mustang stable. And now the Chrysler Group is getting in on the action with the 2014 SRT Viper TA—as in “Track Attack.”
Set to make its public premiere at the upcoming New York Auto Show, then go into production this fall in very limited numbers, the 2014 SRT Viper TA starts with the starting point of the Viper lineup for the lowest possible curb weight (3,348 lbs.). Engineers then deployed a comprehensive retune of the car’s suspension, swapped out its aluminum cross-bracing for carbon-fiber reinforcements, and are now working in parallel with Brembo to develop an improved braking system with significantly enhanced heat-management capabilities. Notably, much of the hardware is based on “pre-developed” SRT components, which is a canny move to help with affordability. (For the automaker, anyways; with just 33 being built, the 2014 SRT Viper TA will no doubt be a pricy proposition.)
A number of design enhancements are in play as well, including a carbon-fiber body kit that also helps the 2014 SRT Viper TA reduce aerodynamic drag, and visible brake calipers that sport a black anodized finish and Crusher Orange Viper logos. That same exclusive Crusher Orange paint covers the exterior of the Viper as well, and also is used as accent stitching in its black cabin. Needless to say, Sabelt racing seats are standard, as is the Viper’s hand-built 8.4-liter V8 that makes 640 hp and 600 lb.-ft. of torque.
The party line from Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of the SRT brand and Motorsports for the Chrysler Group: “Our engineers revised the suspension settings to refocus the Viper specifically for track duty, using a blend of components from the GTS and the SRT models, added in the extensively developed aero package and the new Time Attack package was born. We’re not only saluting the existing capabilities of our current models, we’re also targeting another niche in our customer base with a tremendously capable track machine.”